New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster is "as adept at fiction as she is at telling her own stories" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). And now in her new novel, reality gets an unreal makeover
Reagan Bishop is a pusher. A licensed psychologist who stars on the Wendy Winsberg cable breakout show I Need a Push, Reagan helps participants become their best selves by urging them to overcome obstacles and change behaviors. An overachiever, Reagan is used to delivering results.
Despite her overwhelming professional success, Reagan never seems to earn her family’s respect. Her younger sister, Geri, is and always will be the Bishop family favorite. When a national network buys Reagan’s show, the pressures for unreasonably quick results and higher ratings mount. But Reagan’s a clinician, not a magician, and fears witnessing her own personal failings in prime time. (And seriously? Her family will never let her hear the end of it.) Desperate to make the show work and keep her family at bay, Reagan actually listens when the show’s New Age healer offers an unconventional solution
Record Nielsen ratings follow. But when Reagan decides to use her newfound power to teach everyone a lesson about sibling rivalry, she’s the one who will be schooled
Hardcover, 320 pagesPublished February 4th 2014 by NAL Hardcover
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Three stars: The Real World meets Freaky Friday.
Reagan Bishop is enjoying the benefits of her success. Well... for the most part... it seems every time she is about to bask in her fame and glory, everything comes crashing down. No matter how hard she works or how much success she achieves, Reagan cannot escape her past nor her sisters. Geri especially always steals her limelight. Geri hasn't done anything to merit praise. She lives in their parent's basement, and she is a hairdresser, not a clinical psychologist like Reagan. Unfortunately, things are about to get worse for Reagan when she learns her popular cable reality show: Push is headed to the main networks. This means big changes, and in order for Reagan to keep her job she has to take some radical risks. Will Reagan keep her job and overcome her past?
What I Liked:
- This is my first experience with Ms. Lancaster so I can't compare it to her other wildly popular and funny memoir novels. This book is not a memoir, it is pure fiction so it is different from her previous books. There is plenty of humor and it features a character trying to overcome lots of issues, so if you enjoy her other books, this one will likely make you chuckle.
- This novel is a mix of pop culture, true life and a bit of paranormal. Reagan Bishop is a psychologist currently starring on a reality tv makeover show where she along with a team of specialists work to transform someone. Once the show is bought out by the major networks, things take a dramatic turn. The show must be bigger, flashier and more exciting. That means they will be working with celebrities and doing some fast, extreme therapy. The celebrities introduced are caricatures of famous celebrities, for instance one popular teenage starlet, who has lots of issues, just recently got angry and shaved her head, does that sound like anyone you know? I enjoyed picking out the real life inspirations for the fictional characters. The story then utilizes some paranormal when Reagan, with the help of her new friend, Deva, use astral projection. They basically do a body switch, except they keep the celeb drugged and in the dark so they have no idea what is going on. Of course, mayhem ensues when Reagan decides to masquerade as her sister whom she can't stand. Spending time in Geri's body opens Reagan's eyes, and she ends up having her own break through. This book is definitely a bit wild and wacky.
- Reagan is a character who is purposely written to be unlikable. No one likes Reagan, not even her own family. She is uptight, snotty, and she thinks she is better than everyone else. She stalks her ex boyfriend and spends all of her time feeling sorry for herself because she believes that she was persecuted while growing up. Then there is her diet, she is extremely uptight about everything she eats to the point where you want to punch her. She is a nightmare character, and there is really nothing redeemable about her. Thankfully, once she switches bodies, she sees herself through everyone else's eyes, and she does a turn around. Even though I couldn't stand Reagan for most of the book, it was entertaining to see her train wreck of a life, and I loved that after all was said and done, her sister who lived a more simple life was the one who was truly happy. Best advice, yes you will dislike Reagan and you will not relate to her, at least I hope you won't, but she does redeem herself so sit back and learn a few lessons from her, and laugh at her mistakes.
- My favorite part of the book was watching Reagan masquerade as Geri and watching her uncover how everyone really feels about her. It was funny! I can only imagine the awkwardness of having to sit around and listen to people bash you, while you couldn't do anything about it. Some funny stuff here.
- The book is packed with interesting characters and lots of snark. You will get a few laughs for sure.
- I appreciated the nice resolution and that everything wrapped up neatly. No cliffhangers or unanswered questions.
And The Not So Much:
- I felt that far too much time was spent on exposing just what a terrible person Reagan really is. Honestly, I didn't like her after the first few chapters, but the author drags it out by continually muddying Reagan further and further. I wish that more time had been spent on the body swap and that there was more focus on the positive change and resolution. I don't think the positive outweighed the negative. It is hard to spend an entire book with a character you can't stand until the final few chapters.
- The whole astral projection/body swapping ploy was weak. There is a thin explanation but it didn't satisfy me. I wanted to know how this was achieved, basically I gathered it was with some chanting and with the use of special amulets. You are supposed to just accept it at face value and go with it. Kind of like every other body swapping movie or book you have endured. Who knows how they switch, they just do.
- Deva was a fascinating character, and I would have loved more time with her. She was the key to the whole body swapping and the break through and yet her on scene time is minimal. She was positive, fun and highly entertaining. I would have loved more chapters with her instead of being mired in the negativity of Reagan's life.
- I was disappointed in the romance. It is pretty much non existent and at the end, there is a major development with the romance, but then the book just ends before the reader learns any further details. Kind of a letdown after wading through all the drama. At least there was no insta love or love triangles.
Twisted Sister is an interesting and entertaining read with lots of snark. This is a book that features reality tv meets body swapping. It follows a miserable and unlikable character who ends up learning some life altering things about herself and her relationships. Thankfully by the end, Reagan is on the path to bettering herself. For those of you looking for a book that explores the difficult sister relationship with some interesting twists, take a chance and read this.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this book.
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